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Jay-Z Archive

Wednesday

23

August 2017

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COMMENTS

JAY Z Defends His Anti-Semitic Song Lyrics With Unacceptable Response

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Many of you are aware of my criticism against Jay Z’s anti-Semitic song lyrics on his new ‘4:44’ album, which includes the line, “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” After being rightly called out for his bigoted choice of words on “The Story of O.J.”, the rapper has finally responded, and his viewpoint is both predictable and highly disappointing. According to Jay Z, the Jewish community is filled with hypocrites. He said, “As the Jewish community, if you don’t have a problem with the exaggerations of the guy eating watermelon and all the things that was happening [in the song’s music video], if you don’t have a problem with that, and that’s the only line you pick out, then you are being a hypocrite. I can’t address that in a real way. I got to leave that where it is. He went on to suggest that it is not to be taken literally because “of course I know Jewish people don’t own all the property in America.”

For starters, let me apologize for bothering Jay Z, because it’s clear from his tone that he finds this entire to do tiresome. That being said, I was not aware that exposing anti-Antisemitism demands that I also expose any and all racism simultaneously. But since it is in fact a requirement, I think it’s necessary to point out that his example is NOT analogous. The racist imagery used by Jay Z is done to make a point through exposition. He does not advocate that imagery. It’s used to point out the pain. It’s used to show us how far we’ve come, and to remind us how far we have to go. It’s both shocking and effective. Do I agree with his use of the N-word or anyone’s use of the N word for that matter? No. But that’s entirely different conversation, and I’m happy to have it at another time. As my law school torts professor would say, “Let’s not mix our boxes while we analyze the facts.

The same cannot be said of the anti-Semitic lyric. Yes it’s an exaggeration, as Jews do not in fact own ALL the property in America. It’s clear Mr. Carter is also aware of this, given that he owns property and he is not Jewish. This might seem obvious, but Jay Z specifically said, “I mean, I own things” as an example of how he doesn’t believe his statement is LITERAL. But that is so far from the point it is laughable. He might not literally believe his statement to be true, but his dismissal once again discards the history of this Anti-Semitic comment, and the danger in perpetuating it. He’s not using it to draw some sort of distinction between the past and present.

I was told to lighten up by many members of the Jewish community when I first pointed this out, and while I respect the viewpoints of others, I cannot help but think the Jewish community should also educate themselves on why this is use as an insult. And in light of Charlottesville, it’s ever-the-more important.

The notion that Jews own everything is the same idea used by the Nazis to incite Antisemitism in the community at large. If we own everything, then is our success to the detriment of others? Are we cheap? Are we taking things from you? Are we hogging the wealth, pushing others out, and only promoting other Jews in our secret inside circle? Are we therefore taking over the world and do we need to be stopped? To discard how easy it is to walk the same road as our history, is reckless, unrealistic, and dangerous. You call it an “exaggeration,” and I call it Antisemitism. Jay Z might not get it, but you should.

Wednesday

5

July 2017

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COMMENTS

Jay-Z’s Anti-Semitic Lyrics on 4:44 – There’s No Excuse

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Excited about Jay-Z’s new album, I listened to it in its entirety, and without outside influence of any kind. I was immediately struck by a lyric on “The Story of O.J.,” which says, “You ever wonder why Jewish people own all the property in America? This how they did it.” I listened again and again, in hopes that the context would in some way call-out the anti-Semitic stereotype, and I quickly discovered that was not the case. Soon, I turned to google, where I found a ridiculous defense by famed Israeli-American music manager Guy Oseary, in which he claims Jay’s lyrics are actually a compliment.
 
First, shame on Guy Oseary. To use what I can only assume is a personal friendship to cloud his judgment is gross. Claims like these are never a compliment, and though he acknowledges that the “‘rich jew’ the ‘business jew’ the ‘jew that owns the world’ is a stereotype which has been repeatedly used with the wrong sentiment,” somehow Jay gets a pass here because Mr. Oseary read it in context. I too read the context, and that context is indeed anti-Semitic. I am perfectly capable of understanding the implication here, and I’m no sycophant whose entire paycheck is fueled by the music industry’s power players.

The anti-Semitic notion that Jews own the world and that our success is to the detriment of others, is not only offensive, it’s extremely dangerous. These conspiracies such as the world domination by Jews, are the same claims that once fueled Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party, who felt it their purpose to stop us from such a takeover. It’s a heated declaration with dire consequences, and it should not be taken lightly — or as a compliment.

Finally, is it possible Jay-Z had pure intentions, and he wrongly used this lyric as an expression of admiration? To put it simply, it doesn’t matter. If Bill Maher doesn’t get a pass from the black community for wrongly using the horrific term “house nig***” in a terrible attempt at a joke, then Jay-Z doesn’t get a pass from the Jewish community for perpetuating this disgusting stereotype. He should know better.

Saturday

30

April 2016

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COMMENTS

Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ — Is “Becky” a Ploy to Drive Sales

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beyonce lemonade

 

There’s no doubt that Beyonce is a powerful performer with something to say, and Lemonade is no exception. But while others are picking through the lyrics for evidence of Jay Z’s infidelity and the source of “Becky with the good hair,” I’d like to burst the bubble of this collective narrative in favor of a more realistic explanation. Becky doesn’t exist, and this is an elaborate ploy from two marketing masters to use marital drama as the catalyst for record sales. As for the rollout, it was strategic. It launched on HBOGo for 24 hours, followed by exclusive streaming on Jay Z’s Tidal, and then a general release via iTunes and Amazon.com.  And the stellar sales indicate her “windowing” method worked in her favor. So did Jay cheat, and was that infamous elevator incident the glaring evidence, only to be relayed later via a musical platform? And would Jay place this on Tidal, knowing he’d receive backlash from the Beyhive? This power couple generated buzz in the most blatant of ways, and though I’ll drink their Lemonade because it tastes good, I think I know where it came from.

Sunday

26

January 2014

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COMMENTS

Beyonce & Jay-Z Are ‘Drunk In Love’ — Open Grammy Night

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She was wet, she was wild, and she has her beau by her side. In a daring performance of ‘Drunk in Love’ Beyonce challenged Clint Eastwood’s reigning chair-master title. You have to hand it to Bey Bey, when she’s asked to deliver, she defies your expectations. Watch her very sexy performance below.